Monday, October 23, 2023

Celebrating the first Rails Luminaries: Chris Oliver & Tobias Lütke

Posted by Rails Foundation

We are thrilled to announce the inaugural winners of the Rails Luminary Award, a new tradition established by the Rails Foundation to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to the Rails ecosystem and have been a positive force in our community. Two awards were presented this year.

Rails Luminary 2023: Chris Oliver

After carefully reviewing nominations, the Rails Core team chose one individual for their unwavering dedication and extraordinary impact on the Rails community: Chris Oliver from GoRails. Chris was in the Rails World audience when we surprised him with this announcement.

Rails Core member Xavier Noria presented Chris with the first Rails Luminary Award on stage at Rails World, and has this to say:

Chris is, in his own unique way, a role model for many of us. He embodies the technical mastery, the community work, and the human quality of a luminary. We are grateful to have him.

-Xavier Noria

On winning the award, Chris shared, “I’m incredibly honored to win the Rails Luminary award. Rails has an incredibly helpful and kind community that I discovered back in 2010. The supportiveness of the community inspired me to give back and share my learnings along the way. I hope that my story can serve as an inspiration to others and encourage them to continue building up the community and pushing us forward every day.”

Here are some more thoughts from those who nominated Chris:

Coming from a different industry was extremely hard and he was welcoming and accepting.

The community that Chris has built around GoRails is without a doubt the only reason I was able to make it as a Rails developer. He has helped foster and nurture the next generation of Rails developers and demonstrated that is not as hard as you might think.

Chris’s work with GoRails and his contributions to other critical gems has directly impacted my nearly 5 year long career as a Rails developer. I can directly associate my success and most of my career to the work he did in writing both content, and the community he built around GoRails.

Rails Lifetime Award 2023: Tobias Lütke

We also introduced a second award category at Rails World: the Rails Lifetime Award, acknowledging individuals whose long-term dedication and impact on the Rails ecosystem have been nothing short of legendary.

DHH presented this first Rails Lifetime Award to Tobias Lütke, CEO of Shopify and early Rails Core member.

Tobi exemplifies all the aspirations of Ruby on Rails. The power to pursue a dream as a single developer in the beginning, and taking that dream all the way from Hello World to IPO. The strive for mastery through his tenure on Rails Core, as well as material contributions to the state of our art with Liquid Templates and Delayed Job.

In addition, Tobi has proven that Rails is not just a great starting point for the single developer, but also an amazing platform for a multi-billion dollar e-commerce empire operating at Web Scale with thousands of developers. And he continues to lead Shopify’s investments into both Ruby and Rails with framework extractions, core member employment, fundamental advances in the language, and foundation support.

We owe Tobi so much in the Ruby on Rails ecosystem, and I’m thrilled to recognize this with the Rails Lifetime Award.


Tobias couldn’t join us in Amsterdam to accept the award in person, but he sent a message to the Rails World audience by video.

Watch the first Rails Luminary Award presentation at Rails World in full here:

The Rails Foundation extends its heartfelt appreciation and congratulations to both Chris Oliver and Tobias Lütke for their exceptional contributions to the Rails ecosystem. They represent the very essence of what it means to be a part of this community.

And finally, thank you to everyone who submitted nominations. Stay tuned - we will reopen nominations for next year’s Luminary nominations in the coming months.